As I was about to leave for my masi’s place that evening; Shipra had asked me not to come back to “her” house again. She had rudely reminded me that the “deadline” to leave her place had expired.
Either ways, I was not to go back.. I had been subtly thrown out of my home; if that was one.
Upon reaching my masi’s place, I had informed her of my “homeless” status the 1st thing. I had assured her that within 4- 5 days, I would be gone. She had felt relieved upon hearing that.
It was then completely upon that Blotch to arrange for my stay. I had withdrawn all the money from that Syndicate Bank account. Not that I could utilize that in any better manner. Maximum portion of that 8000/- odd was given to the Blotch. Rent, Security et al. It was all spent for “wild parties”. I understand now what kind of party it may have been; given the fact that he and his friends were only a bunch of womanizers.
Not even once was I offered any help by masi or Runa. They did have a spare accommodation. The 1st floor was rented out to a Bong family. She could have given me to stay in return of the same amount of rent. I had suggested the same. I had offered that I could be around the house and attend to cooking and cleaning too. The idea was mocked upon as if was “childish” and dismissed. I had read in between.
13th October, 1996
It was the onset of Durga Puja- the Mahalaya morning. I had woken up early and had switched on the Radio to hear the Mahalaya telecast. Had prepared Tea for masi and myself. For years I have been hearing that recitation. I had not wanted to break the pattern- till whenever I could. Who knows if I would hear that again..?
I was to fast the whole day. As if thats how it was supposed to be; I was on my monthly days too. My “cycle days” have stayed with me on every important milestone. Wonder why?
I had arranged for a Public Carrier Tempo and headed towards Chetna Appts to pack up my stuff. It was decided that I would take all my parents’ belongings with me. My clothes, books, refrigerator, a bed a huge almira.. Technically, all the kitchen stuff was mom’s. Shipra had negotiated to keep with her the Pressure Cookers, Futura ware and other deghchis. There were sets of them. All shapes and sizes. Funny.. Isn’t it? Not to me.
Mom had slogged herself to buy those stuff out of the money that dad used to pass to her (through me) for house- hold expenses. I had taken that as my Moral Duty to carry her stuff along with, my uncle was sat on the Dining Table when he had asked about the Gold Jewelery again. He had said that I was either to handover the stuff back or I wont be allowed to leave. Who had wanted to anyways?
Shipra had come intervening. Uncle had again asked me why I was leaving at all. I had narrated what had happened the Friday evening. He wouldn’t believe it. He threatened me that I could leave if I wanted to but without a single article. Not even my clothes. I had retaliated that then, I would head to the Police Station asking for help. Shipra had lost it by then. She had screamed in the most uncouth manner- Ashok, let her go.. She is pretty capable of putting you into a soup. Let her go.
I would not know if “Ashok” realized that she had really asked me to leave. But then, so had he himself. Shouldn’t he have felt better- since she had eased his task.. Or may I say that she had seen to it that the task meets its conclusive end? Uncle wanted me to be fair. If I was taking my parents’ belongings, I should return his Gold too. Gold was mom’s belonging. Period.
I had asked him to leave his job. American Center had happened since My eldest masi’s younger kid- Anup Patra had refused to join them. It was too low a standard for him to have worked with AC. The lead was passed to Samanta. I reminded him that if he really wanted to be fair, he should quit his work then. Shipra had gone completely off- balance. She had turned hysterical at my audacity and screamed like a mad woman.
One, she was as dark as night. Two, her lips didn’t show without a lipper. That afternoon, she had looked like a sorceress trying to possess a man. She had screamed no end that I would some day put both of them in soup and that was a reason enough that I should be thrown out- AMEN.
I definitely wish to create a broth and a boiling one and immerse both of them into the pot. The sound of bubbles bursting on the surface of that broth would cover her screams for rescue. My bottom has enough been over the fire and lit. It’s time I start bubbling and create blisters. Probably, by throwing me out of a shelter; if not my house, she has called upon her destiny pretty hard.
It is only a matter of time now.
My mom’s saris were not given to me. Yes guys, you read that right. The saris that mom wore- all of them; were all retained. A few that mom had bought for me were also. How shameless. She was throwing an orphan out of a shelter and had behaved herself as a b*tch of the superlative order. It only reflected upon her standard and upbringing. I can say that today- after 13 years or so. Back then, it had torn apart my soul.
I was given no quilt. They were Ashok’s. The potted plants were retained as a return of my Uncle’s favor for all those years.. Once again, it was I who was in the process of becoming a homeless; wherein Shipra had behaved as a beggar herself.
A couple of hours later the tempo had arrived. Uncle had asked a labor where the vehicle was going to.. He had not disclosed a word; he was instructed- not to. Why would I have given where I was going? Was it any of his business anyways?
You throw me out in the bewilderment and then express concern- that just isn’t how it goes. Does it?
The entire Chetna Apartments was aware of a tempo being loaded at Flat# 19; not even a single soul had raised any concern. Reema’s mom from ground floor had come upstairs to ask if Samanta was leaving. She had disappeared no sooner she had come aware of the fact that it was I instead.. How convenient.
Whoever said that “a woman alone brings a woman’s destruction..”; I have witnessed it from a close angle.
I had boarded the tempo after loading and left.
The Blotch had boarded the vehicle from outside the apartments. I had headed towards Mayur Vihar- III.
Upon reaching the flat I was supposed to shift in; I had barely started to unload my stuff, when the DDA committee officers had reached that place, objecting to that. For the next 4 hours, I had kept pleading to let me atleast unload my stuff and release the tempo. I had requested them to allow a day or two to shift out. Taking pity on me, an officer had humbly asked me to wait till sunset when the officers would be gone. I could then unload my stuff and stay inside the house but no lights was to be switched on.
The Blotch had stood there looking around like a hungry canine. He had as if not known of anything.. Obviously, his “friends” had ditched him. That’s how it was supposed to be anyways. I was completely on my own. I had paid a hefty amount to the TPT guys too. They had waited till 9 at night.
There was no water supply, no lights and I was starving. I had wanted a wash badly. Remember- my monthly cycle was on? If that was not enough; the Blotch had wanted to make out.. and he did. Like a lifeless corpse covered in earth- mud, I had lay naked, silently. I had tried focusing upon my next course of action. I had no courage left; yet, I had not wanted to cry- either.
It would have been easier to break down and lose myself. It would have been tougher to gain balance after I had finished crying.
I was 19. Supposedly a very young age to experience Life and Sex. Here I was experiencing both and the bitter side of both.
I don’t need to provide any testimonial to prove my level of patience. Yet, as I write this, I am aghast at my own level of tolerance. How could I have taken such utter level of nonsense? Just why did I have to? Where was that leading to?
What was I thinking?
I had my TD course to complete. More than anything else; it had become a question of my mom sacrificing her Life for me. Masi had commented huge in Bangla that my course completion had gone for a toss. Painting and Drawing came naturally to me. Completion of the course was more than a mere degree. Mom’s honor lay suspended in the space around me.
Not knowing of anything else; I had chosen to stay focussed to complete my TD.
Even if that meant to “sleep” in the coffin every night.